Tag Archives: Assisted Suicide

Canadian Liberal Party introduces bill to legalize euthanasia

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (right)

Life Site News has a story about Canada’s new assisted suicide bill:

The Liberal government’s euthanasia bill introduced Thursday will not protect vulnerable Canadians or the conscience rights of physicians, say anti-euthanasia activists.

While Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s Bill C-14 is more restrictive than the legislative framework the special joint parliamentary committee recommended in its February 2016 report, it essentially provides “a perfect cover for acts of murder, absolutely,” says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The draft legislation restricts eligibility for euthanasia and assisted suicide to competent patients 18 years of age and older who have “an incurable serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” which “causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions,” who are in “an advanced state of decline in capability” and whose “natural death is reasonably foreseeable.”

The legislation mandates that a patient request assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia in writing, and that this request be approved by two independent medical practitioners, or nurse practitioners.

It mandates a 15-day waiting period after the request is approved, but that period can be waived if the two medical practitioners deem the patient’s condition will deteriorate before that time is up.

[…]Schadenberg says the bill “does not provide effective oversight in the law,” because while it calls for two independent physicians or nurse practitioners to approve a request for euthanasia,  “this is the system where the doctor or nurse practitioner who does the act also does the reporting.”

The legislation also provides “legal immunity for anyone, anyone who does anything at a person’s request, under Sections 241.3, 241.5,” he said.

[…][W]hile the bill acknowledges conscience rights in its preamble, it “provides no protection for conscientious objectors,” according to Albertos Polizogopoulos, a constitutional lawyer for Canadian Physicians for Life.

Canadian doctors are already forced to perform abortions against their conscience, so this last point is no great surprise.

In a country that has single payer health care, all medical care is paid for by the federal government. You pay into the system your whole life (at an average of 42% of your income, in Canada) and then at the end, you get in line and hope that the government will treat you. It is extremely convenient for the government to kill off patients who are elderly. Elderly patients won’t be able to vote in many more elections, but they will want to draw away funds that could be used to buy the votes of young people who want “free” breast enlargements, plastic surgery, sex changes and IVF treatment. So the government has every incentive to cut loose the old people and then buy the votes of young people with the taxpayer money they save. Single payer health care is a scam to help politicians stay in power.

Similar laws in places like Belgium and Netherlands have been used to cut down on the medical bills that the government must pay.

A Parliamentary committee brief that I found on the Canadian government web site says this:

A study published in the NEJM entitled: Recent Trends in Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Practices in Belgium (March 19, 2015) found that 4.6% of all deaths in the first six months of 2013, in the Flanders region of Belgium, were by assisted death and 1.7% of all deaths were assisted deaths without explicit request representing more than 1000 assisted deaths without explicit request in 2013.

The supplemental appendix in the study informs us how the researchers classified the data.

It states: “If in the latter case the drugs had been administered at the patient’s explicit request, the act was classified as euthanasia or assisted suicide depending on whether the patient self-administered the drugs. If drugs were used with the same explicit intention to hasten death but without the patient’s explicit request, the act was classified as hastening death without explicit patient request. This can include cases where a patient request was not judged as explicit by the physician, where the request came from the family or where the physician acted out of compassion.”

This research study confirms that many intentional hastened deaths are occurring without the explicit request of the patient which contravenes the Belgian assisted death law and medical ethics.

Previously, I blogged about how the UK government provides bonuses to hospitals who put elderly patients on an end-of-life pathway.

Ethicist Wesley J. Smith comments on the Canadian law in National Review.

Excerpt:

The Canadian government has tabled its new euthanasia bill–and as expected, it will be the most radical in the world.

Since the death doctor need not be present at the demise, the bill creates an unprecedented license for family members, friends–heck, a guy down the street–to make people dead.

[…]In short, this provision is the perfect defense for the murder of sick and disabled people who requested lethal drugs.

The George Delury case is an example of what I mean: Delury said he assisted wife, Myrna Lebov’s suicide out of “compassion” and at her request due to MS.

But his real hope was not only to be free from care giving, but become famous writing a book about her death. (He did, What If She Wants to Die?)

It almost worked. But because assisted suicide was a criminal offense, authorities conducted an investigation and discovered his diary.  It showed that contrary to the compassionate face Delury was conjuring, in reality, he emotionally pressured Myrna into wanting to commit suicide, telling her, for example, that she was a burden and ruining his life.

He also withheld full dosage of antidepressants so he could use those drugs to kill her. And, he but put a plastic bag over her head to make sure she died.

If euthanasia Canada’s bill had been the law of New York when Delury killed Myrnov, he might have been able to coerce her into asking for lethal drugs. At that point, he could have killed her any time he wanted and there wouldn’t have been a criminal investigation to find his diary.

Canada has just paved the way for a person, hungry for an inheritance or ideologically predisposed, to get away with the perfect murder.

In the last election, the Liberal Party promised the Canadian voters the moon, in terms of new spending. They said it would only add 10 billion to the deficit this year. But now (after the election) the number has exploded to 30 billion this year and over 100 billion over the next five years. Could this euthanasia plan be the first step in balancing the books, so they can win re-election?

Wesley J. Smith’s top 10 issues in bioethics

Wesley J. Smith blogs at Secondhand Smoke, but he also works for the Discovery Institute. And he’s written a post about the top 10 issues in bioethics.

Here are the top 10 recent bioethics stories:

  1. The ascendance of an anti-human environmentalism.
  2. The growth of biological colonialism.
  3. The increase in American pro-life attitudes.
  4. The struggle over Obamacare.
  5. Legalization of assisted suicide in Washington.
  6. The success of adult-stem-cell research.
  7. “Suicide tourism” in Switzerland.
  8. In vitro fertilization (IVF) anarchy.
  9. The Bush embryonic-stem-cell funding policy.
  10. The dehydration of Terri Schiavo.

Do you know what “suicide tourism” is?

Here’s what it is:

Over the last decade, Switzerland became Jack Kevorkian as a country, its suicide clinics catering to an increasingly international clientele — mostly from the United Kingdom — with the victims ranging from the terminally ill, to people with disabilities, to even a double suicide of a terminally ill elderly woman and her frail husband, who wanted to die rather than be cared for by others. Alas, as was the case with Kevorkian in the 1990s, audacity was rewarded. In the face of a wave of high-profile suicide-tourism stories, England’s head prosecutor published guidelines that, in essence, decriminalized family and friends’ assisting the suicides of the dying, disabled, and infirm. Others mimicked the Swiss. In the U.S., the Final Exit Network appears to have created mobile suicide clinics, leading to the indictment of several of its organizers. Meanwhile, the Australian “Dr. Death,” Philip Nitschke, traveled the world holding how-to-commit-suicide clinics. Still, as the decade came to a close, there was a sense that the tide could be turning: The Swiss government appears poised to shut down the suicide-tourism industry, perhaps even — although this is less likely — outlawing assisted suicide altogether.

Actually, the UK is considering cashing in on suicide tourism, as well.

How euthanasia eroded medical ethics in the Netherlands

Joe Carter writing in First Things. (H/T Secondhand Smoke via ECM)

Intro:

For centuries, the Hippocratic Oath, including the admonition against abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia, formed the core of Western medical ethics. While the Hippocratic ideal has been eroding for decades, the most direct challenge has emerged in the Netherlands, with the cultural and legal acceptance of the right to die. The medical community and broader citizenry have so embraced the right to choose death for oneself that the Dutch parliament is currently considering legislation that would allow assisted suicide for anyone who has reached the age of seventy and has merely grown tired of living.

Excerpt:

The Royal Dutch Medical Association has since called for increased reporting to bolster public trust in euthanasia laws. But enthusiasm for following these procedures and standards remains muted, since doctors know that no penalties will be incurred by simply ignoring the law. Prosecutions for guideline violations are exceedingly rare and no doctor has ever been imprisoned or substantially penalized for noncompliance. Even when the government is made aware of cases of non-voluntary euthanasia, no legal action is likely to be taken.

The Dutch have even expanded the scope of protected physician killing to include children. With their parent’s permission, a child between the ages of 12 to 16 years old may request and receive assisted suicide. Initially, minors could obtain an assisted death even if their parents objected, but after domestic and international criticism, the law was changed to require parental consent.

[…]As reported in one Dutch documentary, a young woman in remission from anorexia was concerned that her eating disorder would return. To prevent a relapse, she asked her doctor to kill her. He willingly complied with her request.

[…]Over a period of forty years, the Dutch have continued the search for where to draw the line with euthanasia, shifting from acceptance of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill, to voluntary euthanasia for the chronically ill, to non-voluntary euthanasia for the sick and disabled, to euthanasia for those who are not sick at all but are merely “suffering through living.” While the initial impetus may have been spurred by a desire to give expanded rights to the person who faces extreme suffering or imminent death, the effect has been to concentrate power into the hands of state-sponsored medical professionals. And while the justification for assisted death is usually the supposed well being of the suffering patient, the Dutch have redefined natural dependency into an unacceptable or unwanted social burden.

This is another concern I have about single-payer health care. The way the system works is that people have taxes deducted automatically from their pay checks when they are working. And when they get older, and stop working, they have to ask for treatment from a supplier that has no incentive to provide treatment or care, since they are no longer socially useful because they can’t pay taxes. Instead of doctors thinking that they have to treat a paying customer, the doctors think that they have to avoid wasting “society’s” money on people who are too old to pay into the system.

So if you don’t pay into the system, and the system needs money to treat those who are still paying, then why would they treat you? You have no value to society unless you are making money.

There was a good article on socialized medicine and euthanasia by Richard Miniter in the Wall Street Journal a few years back that explains my concerns more.

To deal with his point about doctors changing to view their purpose as ending suffering instead of getting people well, I think that this is scary because it shows how far we have come with our hedonism. My concern is that people are viewing the purpose of life as hedonism.

People want to have happy feelings all the time, and they don’t want to be burdened with the needs of anyone else. There’s no longer any moral dimension to life that makes taking care of others worthwhile. No one sees the experience of self-sacrificial love for others as an opportunity to imitate Christ.

UPDATE:

More horror. Patients in the Netherlands are suing to require that sexual gratification be part of the “medical services” that nurses should perform. I can’t even begin to express my revulsion at this story about health care in the Netherlands. Women were not made to be treated like this, they’re made to love and to be loved. I’m so scared of the future. It’s things like this that put me off of wanting to pursue marriage and children. What kind of world will my children grow up in? What will the government force them to do that will destroy their willingness and ability to follow Jesus? I can’t re-make the whole world.

Ethically-sound adult stem cell research cures paralysis in human patients

There are two kinds of stem-cell research. The first kind is called embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR). This kind is opposed by pro-lifers because it kills unborn persons by extracting their stem cells for use in medical research. The second kind is called adult stem-cell research (ASCR). This kind is supported by pro-lifers.

You may be surprised to know that ESCR doesn’t work as nearly as well as ASCR. Despite all the advocacy from left-wing Hollywood actors, ESCR has not helped a single patient. But ASCR in being used for 73 different kinds of therapies, and it keeps getting better and better. Here’s the latest scientific discovery in ASCR.

Story from Wayne State University, which made the discovery. (H/T Secondhand Smoke via ECM)

Excerpt:

A new study by a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher details the outcome of adult stem cell grafts in spinal cord injuries and how the procedure led to increased mobility and quality of life for patients.

Associate Professor Jean Peduzzi-Nelson of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology conducted the study, “Olfactory Mucosal Autografts and Rehabilitation for Chronic Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury,” which was published online in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

The process involves the use of adult stem-like progenitor cells in the patient’s own nasal tissue. The use of a person’s own stem cells, Peduzzi-Nelson said, lessens the problems of rejection, tumor formation and disease transmission.

In the study, 20 patients with severe chronic spinal cord injuries received a treatment combination of partial scar removal, transplantation of nasal tissue containing stem cells to the site of the spinal cord injury and rehabilitation. All of the patients had total paralysis below the level of their spinal cord injury before the treatment.

More here.

Wesley J. Smith notes that ASCR is getting more and more efficient:

A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has developed a method that dramatically improves the efficiency of creating stem cells from human adult tissue, without the use of embryonic cells. The research makes great strides in addressing a major practical challenge in the development of stem-cell-based medicine…

The new technique, which uses three small drug-like chemicals, is 200 times more efficient and twice as fast as conventional methods for transforming adult human cells into stem cells (in this case called “induced pluripotent stem cells” or “iPS cells”). “Both in terms of speed and efficiency, we achieved major improvements over conventional conditions,” said Scripps Research Associate Professor Sheng Ding, Ph.D., who led the study. “This is the first example in human cells of how reprogramming speed can be accelerated. I believe that the field will quickly adopt this method, accelerating iPS cell research significantly.”

See below for other breakthroughs in ASCR, as well as the political implications.

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